A Little Poetry Speaks Volumes

Peter Jastermsky’s Collection is Touching and Touches All Who Encounter It

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Steel Cut Moon is a collection of haiku and senryu “…held together / by sparrows” that is minute in terms of physical measure but not in poetic aptitude. Published through Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library in 2019, Peter Jastermsky’s well crafted collection takes his readers on an engaging journey of aging and remembrance.

The perfect fit for a purse, backpack or coffee table, Steel Cut Moon is meant to be carried and shared with others. It would be a shame to see this text gather dust on a lonely bookshelf.

Broken up into four parts, the book does lend itself a bit more towards an older, more mature audience who have years of living under their belt; however, younger poets have much to gain from these poems as well. That intensely illuminating sparseness of the haiku and senryu allow these poems to connect with whomever reads them.

Jastermsky’s aim is quite good and when fired, these little poems almost always hit their target. For example, the cheekiness of the human spirit is bottled so neatly when he writes, “a test of his faith…/ in the middle of a prayer / another chocolate”, and in rosy tones he conveys that special moment when a matriarch is adored by her grown children.

“Mother’s Day / looking up into / her babies’ eyes” – the juxtaposition of this mother gazing upwards at those she once used to care for, who have presumably now become her caretakers, is handled with the grace and poignancy of a son helping his aging mother into a chair. Growing up and growing old are not Jastermsky’s only subjects on review in this work.

He employs the senryu to ruminate on a variety of topics such as PTSD, family fights that always seem to occur at holiday gatherings, heartbreak and how subjective personal taste can be. It is always fascinating to observe how a similar object is viewed by different people. It is so amusing when one person loves a particular book or piece of art when another, to borrow words from poet Julie Reeser, finds the former “…perspective, / blind and dead…”

One of the only entitled pieces in the entire work is “Haiku Sequence”; it is quite a lovely poem. It is obvious Jastermsky has respect for this illustrious poetic form, and he does it justice with his work. His words and exacting phrasing are chosen with utmost care. They provoke smirks, sympathetic sighs and instill a feeling of connection.

His only published collection to date, Steel Cut Moon, can be ordered through your local bookstore or online. Those curious to hear more of Peter Jastermsky’s more recent poems can often catch him at the poetry readings hosted by Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree, California.


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